Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weeding and amending and planting time,

This is my kitchen garden at this point in time. There are five growing areas over dark fabric.
 Each area is about 6X10 feet. In the first season, the soil was tilled, amended and covered with this thick fabric. Over the entire thing, we have set up a drip water system.

At the end of the growing season, we dig out any plants that have gone to seeds or look too weak,  remove the fabric and plant fava or peas as a cover crop. The legumes will take about two months to mature. Then, the fruit is harvested, and the stalks will be tilled under.

Each area will be rotated with different crops, starting and ending with legumes.
The rotation, depending on the weather, can go from fall to summer. On my patio, however, I grow my herbs. Some seasons, I get lucky and have tomatoes, peppers and eggplants growing right out of my living room window.
2. lettuces, arugula, onions, garlic, kale, chard, spinach
3. squashes and melons
4. cruciferous, beets, carrots.

The above area just had  brussel sprouts, a variety of cabbages, broccoli, cowliflower, rape, lettuces, onions and garlic. This morning, I took advantage of some sunshine and did some weeding and clearing.   When the weeding is finished, I will remove the fabric and plant fava.

Many times, I harvest just a few sprigs of each plant, and after I saute' them in olive oil, garlic and hot peppers, I serve them over pasta for a light lunch. 

They make an amazing combination!

Even in the middle of winter, I can always find wild arugula, some spinach, some broccoli florets. What a great combination to add to any meal.


  1. Sounds like you have a very good plan. I do believe that if we plant wisely, the soil becomes very healthy and you don't need additives. We planted a clover cover crop for the first time this year. But we sit on a sand dune and it is difficult to replenish our soil. don't you just love fava beans!!!

  2. So inspiring! I love the idea of vegetables fresh from the garden! I've just put some some tomato plants in containers this year and am hoping for the best. We had good crops of tomatoes and peppers back in our former home in California. Despite the fact that we're in Arizona, this particular area is heavily agricultural so we're hopeful. Am also planning to transfer some pepers and beans to large containers this weekend. Keep us all posted on your garden -- with any tips you may have for less savvy gardeners (like me!)

  3. Great gardening. I try to rotate as well but I also plant potatoes. I draw a map each year where everything has been but I filed them so well last year that I cannot find them anywhere!!! Have had to try and remember this year :-( Diane

  4. Thank you for an interesting post and your rotation guide. Where do your nightshades fit into rotation? Do you leave the black plastic on all the time? We are in quite different zones but I'm getting a lot of goodies out of the greenhouse. I guess you can throw any greens into pasta with olive oil and have dinner.

  5. your garden is much more organized than mine.

  6. I grow nightshades, tomatoes, peppers, etc, in containers on the south deck by the house, where there is a microclimate that is warmer. After the harvest,I start with fresh soil the following season.

    I keep the fabric for two seasons, then, remove, till in more amendments and plant material like fava stalks and replace the fabric. This is heavy duty commercial fabric. It is guaranteed for 30 yrs!

    Patricia, I have sandy soil, right by the lake. So, I do a rotation of legumes regularly to add both plant matter and composted amendments.

    I do a lot of composting. In the next post, I shall explain.

    All in all, the fabric cuts down on weeds and provides additional warmth. My day temperatures even in summer never go past 70 degrees. I can only grow tiny tomatoes and tiny peppers against the sidings of the house, where the temperatures will get warm enough for these plants to fruit.

    My front garden is a natural forest floor, with a few spots for herbs and bulbs the deer will leave along. The back garden is fenced and flat and aside from a few fruit trees and climbing roses it is dedicated to vegetable and berries.

  7. My mini garden pales in comparison but you give me reason to hope.

  8. Your garden sounds and looks wonderful! I don't have a a big garden, but have tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and herbs growing on my patio.

  9. Your garden looks very well planned! I could never be so organised! Happy gardening! :)